An AI named Angelina is making games thanks to researchers from the University of Falmouth. With the press of a button, Angelina writes the rules of the game, finds assets and ideas from the internet and then creates a file that works with a stand-alone application.
Angelina – a recursive acronym for ‘A Novel Game-Evolving Labrat I’ve Named Angelina’ – was developed by Michael Cook from University of Falmouth to create platform games in 2011. It has since created hundreds of games across a wide range of genres.
“Angelina doesn’t set out to make a game in a particular genre—instead, it tries to build games that match its notion of what a good game is,” says Cook.
The goal for Angelina is to create entirely new elements of games, a goal that Cook believes will reap significant benefits. AI has already been used to develop a deeper understanding of subjects humans are well-versed in. AlphaGo, Google’s Go playing AI, discovered new moves in the age old game that have changed our understanding of the game and Chess hasn’t been the same since the development of Chess engines.
A recent design of Angelina’s sent several simultaneously controlled adventurers into a dungeon and forced the player to sacrifice some of their characters to rescue the rest of the party. We could be in trouble if Angelina ever finds out about the old Dungeons and Dragons fallback; rocks fall, everyone dies.
“It frequently does things like this—looking beyond the assumptions I have, and finding interesting things I would not think to look for,” says Cook.
Valuable feedback came when Angelina’s game To The Sect was submitted to the Ludum Dare game jam in 2013. “Game designers played its game and gave feedback, and we learned a lot from reading and analyzing how they responded to the system,” Cook says.
Cook hopes that this automated game design process can be used in collaboration with human developers to come up with new and interesting game designs. The plan isn’t to create a Skynet that takes over the game development industry but instead to give developers another tool to work with.